Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Side Street Inn @ 1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu





In every city, you will find that one 'landmark' restaurant that's loved by locals and revered by visitors; the 'must' go to venue.  It has the best (insert dish here) the comfort food that is quintessentially specific to that locale and it is worth every 'foodies' effort to pilgrimage and bow to it's culinary alter....

So in Honolulu,  Side Street Inn has such a veritable reputation; great Asian comfort food and great for late night dining (probably after consuming copious amounts of liquor)..... And if you ask yourself, why is Alan saying this?


then continue below and you will see....




More like 'Alley of Broken Dreams' Inn.......  smell the despair......






'Holy Crap' was my reaction when the taxi stopped in front of the Inn's facade...  Is this really it?  It looks like a front to a meth lab......
I quickly annotated to myself, when one says 'great late night dining'.... it means, go at night so you can't see it in the light of day!  To say it's a 'Greasy Spoon' or 'Dive' or 'Hole in the Wall' would be an understatement of magnanimous proportions - in the bright Hawaiian sun, it's the building version of a tweeked out hooker fresh from Burning Man.....a big hot mess....




Which is unfair to say, since it really is a late night joint; it's a Sports Bar for God sakes - it was my mistake for going there for Lunch (we arrived upon opening, no one was there and the dining room hadn't even opened yet) another mistake: sitting underneath the air conditioner and as the waitress turns it on, having plumes of refried second hand smoke air blow onto us in asbestos clouds...




Alright, enough talking smack about the place, lets get down to biz....





























Knowing how much food we were gonna eat, we started with some serious ruffage: the Nalo Green Salad - short for Waimanalo, a special mix of greens from 'Nalo Farms (check out their website for the extensive list) with it, Hau'ula Vine Ripened Tomatoes + Bleu Cheese + House Made Red Wine Vinaigrette.  Why are vegetables so freakin good on this Island? Must be the Volcanic soil or something.....or the meth....in the restaurant
(haha, ironic cuz you can't taste jack on meth....
so I hear.....)  ahem...moving on....












There's a lot of items on the menu that's received numerous raves, given the portions, we narrowed it down to just a couple; the must have dish:  Pan Fried Island Pork Chops - three big island Pork chops seasoned and pan fried to a golden crisp and chopped perfect for picking up with your chopsticks.

I enjoyed these crispy fried delights, the quality and quantity makes this such a party dish, it's reminiscent of late night bites in Chinatown after a spell of bar crawls- the oil soaked protein bits give your goggled mind that yes, you are in fact, getting sober with each morsel!  Too bad that in clarity of the mid afternoon, this was a good rendition of an Asian classic, but not the best I've ever had.   Which just goes to show you that dining is not only quantified by just the food, but the time and company in which it's experienced.
But, a totally respectable in flavor profile and a soulful dish, it was very easy to finish.









With a dish like the fried pork, Rice is an absolutely must in order to complete that comfort food smorgasbord.   The 'Side Street Works' Fried Rice; 'Side Style' Fried Rice (Char Siu + Portuguese Sausage + Bacon + Peas + Carrots + Green Onions) + Lup Cheong (Sweet Chinese Sausage) + Kim Chee.

With the copious amount of ingredients, each bite was filled with every nuanced flavor you could imagine; what was surprising was that the Kim Chee did not overpower the dish, instead it added a subtle sour crunch that was purely palatable.  As for the other ingredients, the Sausages and Char Siu were awesomely good and and overall mild sweetness is signature Hawaiian.  More than enough for a table of six, we had to take our leftovers to go (another note to self: although in the restaurant, the Kim Chee was mild, when left in a confined refrigerator, it stinks to high hell!)

So many other dishes to try, so little time.  In fact Side Street Inn is a place to return, although it's better to enter in a different state of sobriety in order to get the full effect.





Side Street Inn on UrbanspoonRatings (Out of Five Stars)
Food:             4
Ambience:     (can I give minus stars?)
Service:         4